How to Get Your Shipments from China to Amazon FBA (2020 Updates)

December 28, 2018 in Blog, Chinese Importing, Selling Your Products, Shipping & Logistics
How to Get Your Shipments from China to Amazon FBA
It’s a little more complex than asking your supplier to stick a UPS label on your products.

How to Get Your Shipments from China to Amazon FBA

This is probably one of the most common questions I hear nowadays: how do I get my shipments from China to Amazon FBA?

While shipping products from China to Amazon warehouses isn’t incredibly difficult, it’s also slightly more complex than asking your supplier to stick a UPS label on a product and send it to a single Amazon warehouse. In this post, I’ll discuss the different ways you can get your products to Amazon FBA distribution centers.

Further Reading: I Worked at an Amazon FBA Warehouse for a Week. Here’s What I Learned

Your Choices: Direct to FBA or with a 3PL/Middleman

Getting your products to Amazon FBA really boils down to two choices: you can either ship your items directly to Amazon FBA warehouses from China or you can first ship to yourself or a 3PL and then ship to Amazon FBA.

If you’re shipping directly from China, you will have to instruct your Chinese supplier to prepare your goods completely to FBA specifications. This normally isn’t a problem but can sometimes be challenging.

If you’re shipping via a U.S. based middleman (including if the middleman is yourself), you can have one consolidated shipment from China broken into smaller packages, quality inspected and prepped for FBA. Using a middleman will cost more money though.

The Pros/Cons of Shipping Direct to Amazon FBA (and the Challenges)

Direct to FBA Using Middleman
Pros
  • Cheaper
  • Quicker
  • Can inspect the order domestically before it arrives at Amazon
  • Can use partnered carriers
  • Dividing shipments to multiple Amazon FCs is easy
Cons
  • Can’t inspect order domestically before it gets to Amazon
  • Can’t use partnered carriers
  • Shipments to multiple Amazon FCs is challenging
  • Supplier knows you’re selling on Amazon
  • More expensive
  • Slower

The biggest advantage of shipping from China to Amazon directly is that it is much quicker and cheaper. You will normally save 1-2 weeks in transit time if shipping direct from China. You will also eliminate 3PL costs which are hundreds or thousands of dollars per shipment, depending on the size.

The biggest headache about shipping to Amazon directly is that, depending on your product type, there is a very good chance that Amazon will request your items to be shipped to multiple FCs (Fulfillment Centers). This is especially true for oversize items.

multiple amazon shipments

An example of a shipment being divided between multiple FCs.

You can determine if Amazon will want you to ship to multiple FCs by creating a shipment within Amazon (do not approve the shipment).

Why Multiple FCs and How to Avoid it?

Amazon typically requires you to ship to multiple FCs for oversize items and/or if you mix a shipment with items requiring prep/not requiring prep.

How do you avoid shipping to multiple FCs?

  • Avoid combining oversize and standard size items
  • Avoid combining shipments that need prep and don’t need prep
  • Turn inventory placement on

If you’re shipping oversize items, unfortunately, you are going to likely be stuck shipping to multiple FCs and it’s  hard to ship direct to Amazon without turning on inventory placement.

To turn on Inventory Placement, go to to Settings -> Fulfillment by Amazon. This will make all of your items go to one distribution center.

inventory-placement

Inventory Placement can be pricey: For non-oversize items, it’s $0.40 per item + $0.10 per pound over 2 lbs. For oversized items, it is $1.30 per item + $0.20 per pound over 5 lbs. You can only turn on Inventory Placement for some shipments: just turn on Inventory Placement, create the shipment, and then turn it off. Only those items will be charged the above fees.

There are also a few blackhat workarounds that we do not encourage as they can very likely get you in trouble with Amazon:

  • Ignore the additional FCs and just ship to one
  • Send in a dummy oversize item in a standard size box and have it measured by Amazon. Amazon will think your items are standard size until they re-measure your items. Make sure to recall your dummy item before you sell it.
  • Use software like SellerChain.com which can sometimes use a backdoor to get shipments to one FC

The other danger in sending items directly to Amazon is that you will have no opportunity to inspect them domestically prior to them arriving at Amazon. If sending direct to Amazon from China I highly recommend using a third party inspection company in China such as with QIMA (formally AsiaInspection). At a very minimum, ask for detailed pictures from your supplier of all packaging and products before shipment. 

The other major issue is that by asking your supplier to apply FBA labels to all of your items they now know that you’re an Amazon seller. There’s a possibility that your supplier may think “Oh, maybe I should just sell directly to Amazon FBA”. And a lot of Chinese suppliers are now starting to do this.

Three Easy Steps to Ship Direct to Amazon from China

Below will outline how to ship direct to China using sea or air shipping. If you’d like to ship full containers to Amazon you can see our full article on how to ship full containers direct from China to Amazon FBA.

  1. Create your shipment in Seller Central. Ensure you are shipping only to one FC if shipping via sea freight. Use a southern California Ship From address such as the address below. This increases the likelihood of you being able to ship to a California FC, which is the most efficient distance wise from China (Amazon does not care what address you put here as you cannot use partnered carriers).
    amazon ship from address
  2. Have your supplier apply barcodes to each individual item, carton labels to each master carton, and pallet labels to the four sides of each pallet (if shipping pallets). A pallet will look like below.

    If exporting pallets from China you must ensure the pallets are ISPM-15. They may charge you more for this.
  3. Arrange with your freight forwarder for door-to-door service from China to the address of the designated Amazon warehouse .Ensure your freight forwarder has shipped to Amazon before and is comfortable with their carrier appointment requirements (most are).

China logistics to fba

There are also a number of services popping up within China that consolidate your shipments and ship direct to Amazon FBA. Two popular ones are mclhk.net and antlogistics.com.cn. These services will quote you an all-in-one rate (including sea freight, overland freight, customs clearance) per CBM. The rates are very good but there can be significant language issues.

All Duties and Freight Must be Prepaid

Amazon won’t pay a penny to accept your products so they must be shipped Delivery Duty Paid (DDP).

If you’re shipping via sea, this isn’t an issue as you will most likely need a customs broker to clear your shipment. However, if shipping via air courier (i.e. UPS/FedEx/etc.) by default duties and other charges will be billed to the receiver. If shipping air courier you must specify for the charges to be billed to the sender (DDP).

If you’re shipment is below $800 cost then it will fall below the $800 de minimis threshold and no duties should be owing.

The Pros/Cons of Shipping to a Middle Man First (and the Challenges)

You can simply have your shipments from China shipped directly to yourself or you can use a 3rd Party Logistics company (3PL). A 3PL will receive your shipment from China and either warehouse it or ship it to Amazon from you. Along with the other advantages of shipping this way is that you can now use Amazon Partnered Carriers for either small parcel shipments or LTL and it is very cheap.

3PL example

A picture of my previous 3PL – relatively small and unsophisticated.

Using a 3PL in between is, in fact, advantageous in almost every way except time and money. These are very important factors though.

A 3PL is likely going to spend 2-5 days receiving your stock and preparing it. It will also take a few more days in transit time from your 3PL to designated Amazon FC.  So more or less, using a middleman will add at least 1-2 weeks in lead time to get to Amazon FBA.

Most 3PLs are going to charge you a receiving fee (normally around $1-$5 per carton or $10-$50 per pallet), a pick/pack fee to actually ship the products (not including carrier fees of course) to Amazon FBA (normally around $1-$4) any labeling fees like barcodes (normally around $0.1-$0.25), and finally storage fees. Below is an example pricelist from a 3PL.

Sample Prep n’ Ship Schedule of Fees

When to Ship Direct and When to Use a Middle Man

So when should you ship direct to Amazon and when should you use a 3PL?

When to use a middleman when shipping to Amazon FBA:

  1. It’s your first shipment from a supplier, this way you can inspect it and also have an American based company prep/label it.
  2. It’s your first time using FBA, this way you avoid making any errors resulting in your shipment being rejected and sent back to China.
  3. It’s financially cheaper to use a middleman specifically due to the savings in having one consolidated shipment sent from China.

When to Ship Directly from China to FBA:

  1. You’re shipping a small physical amount of products (1 carton) and it is valued under $800.
  2. Time is absolutely critical for you and every day counts.
  3. You have lengthy experience with your supplier (and/or you’ve used a third party inspection agency in China) and you have lengthy experience shipping products to Amazon FBA and it’s cheaper than using a middleman.

In my opinion, if you’re relatively new to the whole importing game or Amazon FBA game, you should have your first couple of shipments sent directly to your home or business if at all possible. You should handle your products personally at some point.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has addressed the pros and cons of shipping directly from China to Amazon FBA as well as using a middleman.

How do you ship your products to Amazon FBA warehouses? What has been your experience shipping directly from China? Has everything gone smoothly or have you run into a few hiccups along the way. I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

 

 

  • About The Author: Dave Bryant

    Dave Bryant has been importing from China for over 10 years and has started numerous product brands. He sold his multi-million dollar ecommerce business in 2016 and create another 7-figure business within 18 months. He's also a former Amazon warehouse employee of one week.

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211 Comments

  • Lancelot
    March 29, 2016 Reply

    I was brand new into importing and selling on Amazon. Sent my very first shipment to an Amazon warehouse as directed. Package was delivered according to DHL. However, my shipment disappeared. Amazon showed now receipt. In short, I think my package and items were stolen by some one at Amazon warehouse in Baltimore USA. I got so turned off, I abandoned further efforts to import and sell via Amazon. How sad! Has a similar incident every been experienced by you or any of your other readers? What would you do in such a situation?

    • David Bryant
      April 5, 2016 Reply

      Amazon loses stuff ALL the time (probably 5-10% of the time for our shipments). Good news is that they reimburse very easily - simply have them investigate it. If DHL can confirm receipt chances are they'll reimburse you.

      • Stacy
        February 27, 2017 Reply

        What would you do if Amazon lost your shipment and you were shipping DDP?
        I would think I should have my Bill of Landing, and Invoice, but anything else I would need, and would my manufacturer be responsible for it?

        • David Bryant
          February 27, 2017 Reply

          If Amazon lost it after they received it, then they're responsible. If it got lost in transit, your manufacturer is responsible.

    • Miss
      August 26, 2016 Reply

      This happened to my friends who live here in China and shipped to Amazon. We believe that someone took the items and then miraculously found them again. But here's the thing, Amazon has shown no remorse, and is taking forever to respond, and is charging my friends to have their items returned.

      How do you avoid this? better labeling or what?

      • David Bryant
        August 26, 2016 Reply

        Amazon is notorious for poor warehouse management and 'losing' items (there's some debate about whether this 'losing' is deliberate or not). I don't think there's any way to avoid it completely.

    • Mike Courtright
      June 9, 2017 Reply

      I just started looking into launching a side business utilizing this model (i.e. import goods from China and selling them on Amazon). Should I register for a tax ID for my business entity with the IRS? Additionally, if I ship directly to myself from the supplier in China, inspect and then ship to Amazon in replenishment lots; do I need to use a customs broker? If so, how should I select one?

      • David Bryant
        June 14, 2017 Reply

        At some point you should register - I'm a big advocate of starting as quickly and nimbly as you can but as soon as you get any real revenue you should register. If the goods are going air courier, i.e. UPS/FedEx, where they can do the brokerage for you then you don't need a broker. If you go sea freight or air freight you do need a broker. You can pick any broker - see my resources page for more info.

        • Pravin
          January 4, 2019 Reply

          Hello David
          I am based in the UK. I want to ship to amazon USA FBA from my trusted supplier in China.
          Some smaller goods by air and big size ones by sea.
          Can you please suggest some logistic companies please.
          Is there any size restriction / volumetric weight restriction to send goods from China to Amazon USA FBA?

          • Dave Bryant
            January 8, 2019

            Try PCBUSA.com. For the most part there's no size restrictions.

      • Carlos Lastra
        June 17, 2017 Reply

        Mike, my name is Carlos I am actually a Customs Broker in Miami looking to see what opportunities there are for cargo being imported for sale on Amazon. If you have any questions or there is anything I can help you with please feel free to reach out to me [email protected]

  • Richard Viers
    March 29, 2016 Reply

    Though I do not at this time have a website, I have got quite a bit of experience with both Amazon and with importing from China, You have hit on the nail for most people. I will never use FBA though, perishable goods do not translate well with that set up.

  • Michael Foley
    April 6, 2016 Reply

    Do you create the labels to ship direct to Amazon FBA warehouses from China in your seller central account just like a shipping from US?

    • David Bryant
      April 23, 2016 Reply

      Yes- you do it through Seller Central.

  • Eric
    May 10, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,

    I ordered FOB from supplier and sourced my own forwarder. But now they say they are unwilling to pay the warehouse charges & bill of lading issuance fees at China port.

    Who was suppose to pay the charges under FOB terms?

    Cheers,
    Eric

    • David Bryant
      May 15, 2016 Reply

      Hi Eric,

      Don't take my word for it, but these would normally by your responsibility I believe. FOB basically means the Supplier gets your goods to the port. If your freight forwarder can't get a shipping date for 3 months (I'm using an extreme example) he shouldn't be responsible for warehousing for that duration.

  • Ben C.
    May 29, 2016 Reply

    I'm going to ship my first direct to FBA shipment after building a lot of trus receiving shipments from a Chinese supplier. If I'm using small parcel (Fedex), can I use my domestic US address as my "Ship From" address on my FBA shipping labels, or should I use the manufacturer address in China?

    Thanks for any help!

    • David Bryant
      May 29, 2016 Reply

      It probably doesn't matter a great deal (I've accidentially had the "ship from" address wrong before) but I believe if you you enter even a dummy Chinese address, all of the labels will be printed in Chinese/English so there may be some benefit in that regard :)

      • Michelle
        March 9, 2017 Reply

        You might want to experiment with different Ship From addresses to see if you get multiple warehouse destinations or just one. We don't use a China ship from address and ship to just one warehouse every time.

        • David Bryant
          March 14, 2017 Reply

          Good tip although I'm not sure if this would fall into the same tactic as deleting shipments (which Amazon forbids). I suspect Amazon expects you to actually ship from the ship-from address.

        • James
          July 3, 2017 Reply

          Just a question on not using the chinese supplier address as the "ship from" address in seller central. If I use a local US address as first receiver, how do I label the boxes for shipping from "China" to the US in the first instance?

          • David Bryant
            July 3, 2017

            You just label them in China as you would if they were at that first receiver's address (and then have them delivered from that address either via LTL or UPS)

  • Javier
    June 1, 2016 Reply

    Hello David.
    I just found your website and find it very useful!
    My supplier just gave a me an EXW quote. He also included a freight quote (air shipping product from China to US). So the total amount i need to pay to him is the EXW plus the freight value.
    I'm a bit confused on whether I should get a third party to get product to airport, paper work there, and then receiving product in US.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    • David Bryant
      June 14, 2016 Reply

      Hi Javier,

      You can still ask your Supplier to arrange everything - they'll simply bill you for it. Or you can ask your freight forwarder to arrange pickup. Any freight forwarder can arrange pickup from anywhere in China.

  • Jonathan
    June 13, 2016 Reply

    Hey, David, great tips. Thanks. I am based in Hong Kong and fairly close to the factory of my first order. I am leaning towards inspecting and labeling the goods myself before sending goods to the US by Air Cargo. This first shipment will be around 1900kg so I reckon the cost of using UPS will be quite high. I imagine I still need a broker on the stateside to clear customs for me before shipping to the FBA center.

    • Mike S
      August 22, 2016 Reply

      Hi Jonathan,
      I travel to Hong Kong quite a bit. Is it easy for a U.S. citizen to travel up to Shenzhen for the day?
      Mike

      • David Bryant
        August 26, 2016 Reply

        Hi Mike,

        You need to make sure to have a Chinese Visa! You can do this in China or in the U.S.. In the U.S. you normally get a 10 year visa - so it's worth applying for.

        In terms of traveling, yes, it couldn't be simpler - take the international subway :)

  • Victor
    June 14, 2016 Reply

    If I want to ship from China to my home address in Canada for inspection first, then to a fulfillment center in the US, will that open me up to paying duties twice? (once when entering Canadian Customs and the other when sending to the FBA warehouse in the US?

    Perhaps it makes more sense if I find a middleman in the states at the port (if you recommend any companies, please kindly share!) Thank you! Great site!!

    • David Bryant
      June 14, 2016 Reply

      Hi,

      Yes you will have to pay duties twice. It's technically possible to the duties back from the government but the paperwork will cost about $500+ to do through your customs broker.

      • Victor
        June 15, 2016 Reply

        Thanks David,

        I need to research more because I thought I read another one of your articles that mentioned that I can hold the shipment in bond (and pay a one time bond fee) when the end destination is the USA.

        Love your site and keep up the great work. Plan on using the importgenius as well.

  • Andres
    June 29, 2016 Reply

    Hi David!
    Do you know if in europe FBA works th same ways than US or how it works?
    Thanks!

    • David Bryant
      July 2, 2016 Reply

      Hi Andres,

      It depends what you mean by the same way. I've never used FBA Europe, but from my understanding the gist of it is very similar to FBA USA

  • Vivi
    July 9, 2016 Reply

    Hi David, I am new in this online business at amazon. The production has been done and they ready to be shipped. I live in Sydney, so it's impossible to do the goods inspection. I'm going just to send them straight to amazon fba warehouse, I'm going to send the goods via UPS courier, I was told to apply for EIN to make the process easier, please give me some advice if my goods will have no problem since I've paid all the necessary cost to UPS. Thank you

    • David Bryant
      July 11, 2016 Reply

      Hi Vivi,

      You're best to ask Amazon about this, but an EIN is basically a business social insurance number and takes some work to get. You should be able to get your goods to FBA without this though if shipping via UPS.

  • Max
    July 14, 2016 Reply

    Great article!. I would like to ask you something. When you ship straight from China to AZ warehouses, how does courier set appointment time to deliver to Amazon?. Do I have to send my shipment from China via UPS?. Please let me know. Thanks.

    • David Bryant
      July 17, 2016 Reply

      If small parcel like UPS, there's no appointment needed. It's only for LTL freight and larger.

  • Alex
    July 22, 2016 Reply

    Hey David,
    Fellow Vancouverite here, I am looking at getting into the amazon.com FBA private label game and I am wondering what your opinion is on sourcing products & manufacturers right in the US. I have found some products made in the US that are competitively priced compared to Alibaba and I assume there would be no customs/duties to deal with. I've even found a product that is made right here in Canada at an extremely competitive price. It seems like this would be much easier than sourcing in China but I would like to know what you think about this? If i found an American manufacturer I feel like I could have them send it straight to Amazon FBA? Also, strongly considering purchasing your course as well, but wondering if it would still apply if I end up sourcing NA suppliers for my Amazon.com FBA venture. Any advice you have would be much appreciated! Cheers - Alex

    • David Bryant
      July 22, 2016 Reply

      Hi Alex,

      Yes, sourcing from domestic Suppliers is a perfectly plausible business models (many retailers have been doing it for years) but your competition level will also be higher. Some domestic Suppliers may also have reselling restrictions against Amazon and having them send directly to FBA is probably going to raise their eyebrows a lot (eventually they'll catch on and start doing it themselves). The course is definitely geared more towards sourcing from China than selling on Amazon, so keep that in mind.

  • Stan
    July 27, 2016 Reply

    Hey David,

    I am new to this business ,so i dont know not so much about amazon FBA.
    I have a question about importing products from china tot the US. Does ur supplier arrange the documents for the products and clear the US customs if the do the free shipping? Let say i buy 1 product from AliExpress. If not where do i go to arrange the documents and clear the US customs?
    - Stan

    • TaobaoGuides
      August 15, 2016 Reply

      Stan,

      If you are planning to import goods from China, don't trust free shipping, it's included in the product price, sometimes it's even more expensive than the usually shipping fee. If you are planning by on Aliexpress, some vendors offer free shipping but that's just ordinary parcel shipping from China post which takes around 1 month which is totally different from the courier service.

      • David Bryant
        August 26, 2016 Reply

        Good tip!

  • Jovy
    July 28, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,
    I feel fulfilled since I found your website. I'm a female from West Africa; very interested in online business of importing and exporting. The problem I have is devaluation of our currency that has affected my starting capital. What do you advice me to do? Also, when I eventually start, can China suppliers do free shipping to me?
    For my export business, I'd like to export ginger. Garlic and another medicinal agricultural product. What's your advice?
    Finally, can I have your email address for further interactions? Thanks.

  • darren
    August 8, 2016 Reply

    Hi i need some help!,

    Where do i get a address for my supplier from china to give me a quote?

    Also how do i contact a FBA warehouse to get my first shipment delivered to them ?

    Kind regards

    • David Bryant
      August 10, 2016 Reply

      Hi Darren,

      I'm confused - where do you get your Supplier's address? Ask them? What am I missing here? lol

      In terms of contacting FBA, you don't contact them (unless you're an LTL carrier) you simply create a shipment from within your Seller Central account.

  • Rose
    August 14, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,
    I need help in sending the goods to amazon so there are no problems in packing and tax.
    Would like to use a third party. Do the deal with the tax as well as the packing?
    Do you have a third party you can recommend from your experince?

    thank you for your attention

    • David Bryant
      August 26, 2016 Reply

      Hi Rose,

      There's too many variables in this equation to give a blanket recommendation. As for tax, there should be none for your goods entering the United States (duties yes though)

  • TaobaoGuides
    August 15, 2016 Reply

    Very nice tutorials for small business to ship goods from China to Amazon FBA warehouse, find a reliable consolidate shipping forwarder can not only save the shipping fee but also protect the product security during shipping.

  • phil denis
    August 16, 2016 Reply

    Indeed to inspect your goods, it should rather be done before befre shiping goods out of China.
    Our company http://AsiaQualiTyControl.com regularly inspect manufactured goods before shiping for our customers.

  • Kenny
    August 16, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,
    Great article! I was wondering if you had any ballpack or rough estimates of how much cheaper Amazon's partnered carriers usually are per pound... 5 cents or 50 cents per pound?

    I cannot ship directly to Amazon because my item is freight and it needs to be deconsolidated :(

    • David Bryant
      August 26, 2016 Reply

      It depends on what your discount with UPS is but I would guess it's 25% of the retail rack rate.

    • Ben Ellis-Gowland
      April 14, 2017 Reply

      I've found that the rates are about $0.20 to $0.60 per kg, depending on how close/far away you are from the warehouse. If close it will be at the cheaper end.

  • Hung
    August 25, 2016 Reply

    Hi,

    I am new FBA seller. And i am confuse whether i need register EIN first to import goods to US ( i live outside US)?

    Also, i am stuck and do not know how to ship my product from China to Amazon Fulfillcenter in US? Do you have any freight forwarder that you can recommend?

    • David Bryant
      August 26, 2016 Reply

      Hi,

      No you don't need an EIN. Consider contacting PCB.ca.

  • richard
    August 26, 2016 Reply

    What do you think about a company in China that specialises in FBA fulfillment. They do customizable fulfillment preparation and freight forwarding services. fbaforwarder.com is an example. There are lot's of them on Alibaba.

    Personally, The idea of having the goods shipped to my place or to a prep n' ship company in North America and them to Amazon FBA, seems to me like a lot of extra shipping costs.

  • Miss
    August 26, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,

    So I'm really happy I found this article. I live in Guangzhou and am starting my importing journey. This topic is exactly what I have been looking for because I wondered if I should check every item myself package it and then ship it out from here, or send it directly to a third party inspector.

    I feel like it's kind of a silly question because I'm here so I should just do it...right?

    But I am not feeling 100 and don't want to ruin anything for my first shipment.

    I commented earlier about how my friends used Amazon to ship their things in and had a big horror story for their first shipment, but crazy me, I still need to try on my own.

    I know that was lengthy but hey haha.

    Also do you offer your course in China? or are you looking for interns etc? I just want to learn.

    Thanks David

    • David Bryant
      August 28, 2016 Reply

      Hi Miss,

      If you're in China and can inspect the items directly relatively easily, I'd definitely do it on the first shipment or two - I'm never surprised any more with the mistakes that Suppliers can make!

  • Renae
    September 7, 2016 Reply

    Hi David, thank you for your information. So I'm new to amazon and my supplier is wanting me to arrange shipping (china to usa). Do you think I should use a freight forwarder and would I use one in China or US? Thoughts? Thank you for any suggestions, appreciate it.

    • David Bryant
      September 11, 2016 Reply

      You should organize through the U.S. - they'll have agents in China that they'll deal with.

    • Charlie
      September 11, 2016 Reply

      You should check out www.fbatransport.com . They take care of everything for a very low price.

  • Sam Mahmood
    September 9, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,
    If I want to have my supplier in China send it directly to FBA warehouse, how does FBA recognize the item is for me rather than the Chinese supplier?

    • David Bryant
      September 11, 2016 Reply

      There'll be carton labels that are specific to your Seller Central account.

  • Fabian
    September 14, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,

    I'd like to ship pallets to A's fulfillment centers. You mentioned in the blog that you could write about it if someone asks. So I'm asking :).

    • David Bryant
      September 19, 2016 Reply

      Hi,

      You're the first person to ask so I won't do a full article- but basically if you're doing it from China, you need to prepare your shipments beforehand and send your Supplier the carton labels and pallet labels. If you have inventory placement turned on, then all your products should go to one warehouse and you can just have your LTL carrier pickup the goods from the port and ship to the designed warehouse. If you do not have inventory placement turned on and/or your products are going to different warehouse locations, you will almost certainly need to use a 3PL who can 'cross dock' your goods and split them up to the different warehouses.

  • Stacey
    September 16, 2016 Reply

    I'm so happy to have stumbled upon your page because I'm trying to understanding this whole china to amazon direct business.

    I have a supplier who can quote me a price on everything I need, but the supplier needs an address--amazon, but where? Which address? I assumed there was one large warehouse somewhere but if you're telling them they have several in the US (and I live in Canada), I have no idea how I'm meant to find the location.

    I've signed up to amazon sellers, thinking I would get info there but I have yet to find specifics.

    Essentially, I have the goods and I have signed up as an amazon seller but I don't know how to connect the two. Please help. thanx

    • David Bryant
      September 19, 2016 Reply

      No, Amazon has dozens of warehouses. You have to 'create an FBA shipment' in Amazon, basically telling Amazon "hey, I'm sending you 10 widgets". They'll then assign a warehouse for you.

      • JP
        November 13, 2017 Reply

        Hello David, good stuff you got here. Thanks.

        Trying to do my first order and my problem is shipping cost. I'm trying to ship 500 door shoe organizer: 530x290x480 cm 160 kg. The best quote I got is $2400 from China to FBA with labeling, custom, Duty. Does this seams like a good price to you because it's eating all my margin!

        Can you recommend shipping methods or companies?

        Thanks

        • Dave Bryant
          November 15, 2017 Reply

          Yes, shipping is a huge part of the equation. It's not uncommon for air shipping to be close to the cost of the product. That quote isn't terrible but you can probably get it for under $2000 with enough negotiation and shopping around, but not much lower. Your in the situation where you need to ultimately figure out a way to order 3000-4000 organizers so you can ship sea shipping and get your cost from $5/unit in shipping to close to under $1.

  • Steve
    September 20, 2016 Reply

    David, When I try to set this up in Amazon, it only gives me the option of small package or LTL. How would I create the shipment in Amazon's system? How would Amazon know to expect a full container instead of just a pallet?

    I also noticed that you have to set an appointment with the fulfillment center to unload a container. Is that usually handled by the Driver / Carrier, or do I need to do that for them?

    • David Bryant
      September 27, 2016 Reply

      Hi Steve,

      I've never shipped a full container to Amazon so I'm not sure the proper protocol - probably better addressed to them. As for the appointment, yes, the carrier makes the appointment.

  • DW
    September 21, 2016 Reply

    I'm trying to find information on permits and/or paperwork to import products from a Chinese manufacturer to my facility using myself as the middleman strategy. I am having a lot of difficulty finding information on this. Do I need permits or paperwork? What about customs and duties? Thank you.

    • DW
      September 21, 2016 Reply

      By the way, your articles are amazing and are greatly appreciated. As for my post, I'm obviously new to this so I thank you for your time and tutelage.

    • David Bryant
      September 27, 2016 Reply

      I'm a little confused by the question - what paperwork and permits do you need? And what do you mean you as the middle man?

      • DW
        September 28, 2016 Reply

        With paperwork and permits I am referring to a license to import from China (for example) or any licensing or forms from the United States to bring products into the country from China. If I place in order for a product in China, do I need to do something or prepare anything official?

        By middleman, I am just saying I will be doing the work myself as opposed to paying a third party company to package/label. Thank you for your response, and I hope this clears up the question.

        • David Bryant
          October 11, 2016 Reply

          Hi,

          Unless your product requires special regulation, i.e. supplements, weapons, etc. the only thing you should need is an invoice from your Supplier. You can confirm with your customs broker to be 100% sure though.

  • rednivlab idriv
    September 27, 2016 Reply

    Hi

    I have currently placed a order from China.
    I live in the UK, and don't want to pay duty fees twice to accept goods here, then ship to USA fba

    What would you advise to keep the cost low, should I have my upc and fulfillment barcode on the packaging design, and pay a middle man.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated

    Regards

    • David Bryant
      September 27, 2016 Reply

      You can bring the goods in 'bond' into the UK (they must be kept in a bonded warehouse which customs officials may inspect at any time to make sure everything is still there) and re-exported. You may also be able to file for any duties paid for a product that is re-export, but the paperwork is messy and expensive normally. However, if you want to bring a shipment into the UK, sell some of it to the Uk and ship some to the USA it's getting very complex and likely not worth the trouble unless you're talking thousands in duties to be recovered.

  • Rob
    October 3, 2016 Reply

    A couple of people mentioned third party companies in China that can pick up your stuff there and then ship all the way to Amazon warehouses, such as http://www.fbatransport.com/

    What is your opinion on these places. It seems like that would be the easiest, cheapest, thing(?)

    I guess these guys also might also try to buy and same stuff too(?) is that as much of a concern with these guys, or was that more directed towards the manufacturers?

    • David Bryant
      October 11, 2016 Reply

      Technically nearly any freight forwarder can do this- they're just more familiar with FBA requirements. I wouldn't worry about them stealing your product ideas. If someone wants to do that, they'll do it regardless.

  • Steve
    October 30, 2016 Reply

    I've been really turned off by selling on Amazon. I see Amazon adding new products all the time. Now, it appears, they're inviting Chinese manufacturers to sell direct on their site. What is the future for a small business trying to import products and sell on Amazon? It just looks bleak to me.

    • David Bryant
      October 30, 2016 Reply

      See this :) http://www.chineseimporting.com/the-chinese-are-coming-more-and-more-suppliers-are-selling-directly-to-consumers/

  • Tom
    November 5, 2016 Reply

    Hi guys, i have found this site whitch helped to save a lot of money. Just wanted to share it with you guys.
    They did a researched me everything about company name i gave like in 3-4 hours.. If you have any doubts about supplier you are dealing with i reccomend using http://spymysupplier.com

  • Jknotek
    November 8, 2016 Reply

    I am new to importing and want to import my first product. However; I am unclear on what a good cost to ship from China to the US preferably FBA. I had several quotes from the supplier directly. Can you offer any guidelines on this?

    • David Bryant
      November 10, 2016 Reply

      Hi,

      You would have to give us some specifics on the details of the shipment, i.e. weight, CBM, etc.

  • james Greeney
    November 9, 2016 Reply

    Great post. I would love to find a way of shipping direct but when shipping containers it is hard to line it up perfectly to meet the Amazon appointment.

    • David Bryant
      November 10, 2016 Reply

      Yes, getting anything aside from UPS into Amazon is an absolute pain right now.

  • Joy
    November 16, 2016 Reply

    Hi

    My name is Joy, emailing on behalf of Peter Nobbs, purchasing officer from Pacific Web Solutions. We source products from China and resell in the USA and Australian market, predominately on Amazon.

    Due to our business expanding and sourcing more SKU’s we are looking for a sourcing company to partner with to complete the following

    1. Source 2-3 new SKU’s / products per month
    2. Re-negotiate/ review the current prices we are paying for existing SKU’s with Chinese suppliers
    3. Complete QA for SKU’s
    4. Prepare by adding a paper insert and label products before shipping to Amazon USA

    Can you please reply, and let me know
    1. Process and cost for sourcing new SKU’s (i.e. set fee or commission on units
    2. Cost for QA (or included in sourcing cost)
    3. Cost to add paper insert to products
    4. Cost to add UPC code to each product before shipping
    5. Any prior experience in selling SKU’s to Amazon USA

    Regards,
    Joy

    • David Bryant
      November 22, 2016 Reply

      Hi Joy,

      I don't personally offer any services like you've mentioned here. IMO the length of the services you need here will be way too much to be outsourced completely (i.e. finding new products) and you'll need to bring it inhouse.

    • Patrick Wang
      November 29, 2016 Reply

      I'm Patrick, and I live in Hong Kong. Recently, I restarted my small business on US Amazon. I am familiar with the importing process from China to US. Meanwhile, I am also interesting to be a part-time buyer for partners outside China,helping them purchasing or sourcing the interested products from China. If any interest, pls contact me via email [email protected]

  • Patti
    November 24, 2016 Reply

    Well, my doubt is if the FBA shipments process to obtain shipping labels is similar than air freight, because I am confused, thanks.

    • David Bryant
      November 28, 2016 Reply

      Hi Patti,

      Can you clarify your question? Are you asking if create an FBA Shipment is similar to a shipment for air freight? These two are basically unrelated. To create a shipping label in FBA is very straight forward and is basically a label that will be put on your box (and THEN you air freight it to FBA).

  • nick selin
    November 30, 2016 Reply

    ok so i want to drop ship android boxes
    i bought a box for 41cad
    then i go on alibaba and see the box for 22 chat with supplier and he says he can dropship within canada for 30 per box
    how can he pay less for shipping than for me to recive and redirect within canada??

  • Aiden Hendran
    December 5, 2016 Reply

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your great work and insight. I'm currently in negotiations with suppliers and will be finalizing my first order for amazon fba shortly. I'm in Canada and will be selling in Amz USA. So I'm having my products air-shipped to me to inspect and then i'll ship it to Amz (as much as i'd wish i didn't have to). A few questions:
    1) Is there customs involvved with this?
    2)Do you inspect every single product and then put it back in the cartons?
    3)Does UPS come pick it up at your door and wouldn't that be really expensive to send like 140kg of stuff to US from Canada?

    Thanks for your support as always,
    Aiden

    • David Bryant
      December 5, 2016 Reply

      Hi,

      1) Yes, there's customs and duties involved with this.

      2) Most people would do a spot check if the number of items is a lot.

      3) You can schedule a pick up to your door. Yes, it's going to be a lot with UPS (check on UPS.com for an estimate). Canada Post would be cheaper, spread across a few shipments.

  • Alam Cespedes
    December 7, 2016 Reply

    EXCELLENT POST, AS I GET A TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY IN THE UNITED STATES, AS I AM FROM SOUTH AMERICA?

  • arik
    December 23, 2016 Reply

    Hi , how should pay the DDP? me or the product supplier?

    how much all the DDP cost? thank you

    • David Bryant
      December 23, 2016 Reply

      Hi Arik,

      That depends who is arranging for the shipment. Normally it would be you that arranges for the shipping and pays. DDP is completely variable based on the destination, cost of goods, goods type, etc.

  • Juan
    January 20, 2017 Reply

    Hi David great blog!. i am new on FBA. do you know if is still free to use the service of Amazon, or there is a monthly fee to pay?
    thanks for all
    Juan

    • David Bryant
      January 21, 2017 Reply

      All professional sellers are required to pay a monthly fee of about $40 (and you need this professional selling account is needed to sell private label products).

  • William Gunawan
    February 4, 2017 Reply

    Hi Daviid

    Thank you for this article. This is really useful and i have been asking this question on Reddit and no one tell me as detailed as you. Good things i stumbled on your blog.

    At first i thought that i need to use forwarding like Flexport or FBA Forwarder and really surprise since their pricing are expensive (if your order is small). Can't imagine spending $500 alone for forwarding when my planned shipment would only cost around $2000

    But here you said that the middlemen usually cost $5 per carton. Is it all the cost that or there are additional cost for anything else? Like for paying custom (not the custom itself), but the service, etc.

    And can you recommend me 1 middle men for FBA that you usually use?

    Thank you

    • David Bryant
      February 5, 2017 Reply

      That figure doesn't include any customs brokerage or duties. $500 on a $2000 order is not actually that bad. It's maybe a little high, but definitely 10-15% of an order value is perfectly normal. You can hunt around but you're going to be saving pennies on the dollar - you're better off trying to either increase your prices you're selling for or increase your order because, as you know, that $500 doesn't inflate much for a larger order.

    • Daniel S
      February 20, 2017 Reply

      William - Judging by your post, it is not a large order (Air Freight suitable) & you are in the testing phase. Taking consideration of the pros/cons explained by David, I would ask my manufacturer to arrange the full (duties included) air shipment to your allocated FBA warehouses OR have a logistics co to arrange pick up & label & full shipment to designated warehouses OR to your US address first, if you live in the US

  • diki
    February 12, 2017 Reply

    hi david
    my name is diki, I lived in Indonesia
    I am interested to start business with FBA program on amazon, but I do not have a product that will I sell at amazon, can I resell products in alibaba to amazon with FBA program with dropship service of alibaba? What steps should I do first?

    I am still confused to start this business, I have not found an article about how to start this FBA in Indonesian language articles, my english is still bad, and I had to use google translation to understand your article ...

    Please help me

    thanks david :)

    • David Bryant
      February 14, 2017 Reply

      Hi David,

      I can't give a detailed answer, but yes, you can have your Supplier ship directly to Amazon FBA for you. Having Suppliers in China ship directly to customers (and not FBA) is technically possible but definitely not advised.

  • Kay
    March 9, 2017 Reply

    Hello
    I am wanting to source goods from China.
    I live in Australia & reading it's not advised to send directly from China to Amazon fillfillment centre on good faith the supplier.
    So can you please advise me what would be my best way to insure least freight costs & easiest way to have my goods sent via China to US?
    I would need to source a quality control company in China to go inspect the quality of my goods &a who knows the Amazon BBA requirements?? Can you pleas tell me how to find one??
    Totally new to this so any help on starting up would be much appreciated.
    So if I sign up as Professional Seller for $40 month fee..aside from me covering all shipping costs does Amazon take any percentage off me from each sale I make on Amazon??

    • David Bryant
      March 9, 2017 Reply

      The article talks about the best way to ship your goods depending on the situation. It really varies depending on the size and type of goods. I'm not sure what you mean by Amazon BBA requirements?
      It'd be great if Amazon only took $40 a month :) They take 15% on top of that and plus any shipping fees to the customer from Amazon.

  • Ophir
    March 13, 2017 Reply

    Hi David,

    To which Amazon warehouse and Us port should I send my shipment. The Chinese or UPS are asking for a specific address to give me price quote. I would like to ship to one warehouse.
    Also, we would like to ship 51000 products/games so I think shipping through the see is the best option.

    Thanks,
    Ophir

    • David Bryant
      March 13, 2017 Reply

      Unfortunately you need to ship to multiple warehouses unless you use 'inventory placement' which costs quite a bit more money. You also need to create the shipment in your amazon account first to determine which warehousse it will go to.

  • James
    March 13, 2017 Reply

    Hi David,

    I really appreciate you taking to the time to write such a detailed article. Answering everyones comments has also been very helpful!

    I have a few questions of my own I was hoping you could answer:

    My first shipment will be about 500 pcs. Each piece will be packaged in white "gift boxes" measuring about 6"x6"x7". The manufacturer says they can package 12pcs per carton. I am living in Canada and would like a middleman to take care of FBA prep since I do not want to do it myself nor pay duties twice.

    1. How should I request that the manufacturer packages the bulk order? Should everything fit on a pallet?

    2. Maybe Im confused, but would you use a courier like UPS (Amazon's partner courier) to ship this many units to a prep centre before being shipped to the FBA facilities?

    3. If I were to use a courier like UPS would I want to focus on the EXW quote or is that still FOB?

    4. At what point do you recommend using a freight forwarding company? Im under the impression that a freight forwarding service is only necessary when shipping containers / large quantities.

    4. Do you recommend using an inspection service in China (like AsiaInspection) in addition to a prep centre in the US? Or do you only rely on a prep centre in the US to perform the inspection? Im guessing it would be better to inspect at the source... so both?

    I'd really appreciate your reply and look forward to your advice!

    Thanks again,

    James

    • David Bryant
      March 14, 2017 Reply

      1. If it's going sea and it's LCL, they'll ship it on pallets. How many pallets it'll take your Supplier can tell you.
      2. This sounds like at least 1-2 pallets. You'll most likely be looking at LCL freight to North America and then LTL freight to the prep center. You'll need to talk to a freight forwarder (PCB.ca if you're in Canada is a good one).
      3. It typically doesn't matter much if it's UPS, but always try and get FOB pricing.
      4. Anything that is a pallet or more.
      5. Get it done in China. Any inspection in North America is just to make sure there's no significant damage to your products (and you don't need to inspect it, just ask them to warn you if they encounter any damage to any products). AsiaInspection is trained in inspecting, a prep center is trained in prepping :)

      • James
        March 24, 2017 Reply

        I try to ask as many straightforward questions as possible when contacting suppliers. In addition to asking what type of packaging they include, I also ask if they can print my logo on the included packaging (if there is any). Sometimes they offer putting stickers on the packaging your qty is too low.

        Hi David,

        Awesome reply. Very helpful thank you.

        I have one follow up question that I just cant seem to find any answers for online.

        What do first time sellers do if they are restricted to storing only 500 units in Amazon's warehouses?

        Most of the manufacturers I've contacted will only do 800 -1000 units. I've only found one that is willing to do 500 units.

        PS I live in a small apartment in Canada and cannot store these at home nor do I want to ship part of the shipment to Canada before shipping to the States.

        Really appreciate your reply!

      • James
        March 24, 2017 Reply

        Hi David,

        Awesome reply. Very helpful thank you.

        I have one follow up question that I just cant seem to find any answers for online.

        What do first time sellers do if they are restricted to storing only 500 units in Amazon’s warehouses?

        Most of the manufacturers I’ve contacted will only do 800 -1000 units. I’ve only found one that is willing to do 500 units.

        PS I live in a small apartment in Canada and cannot store these at home nor do I want to ship part of the shipment to Canada before shipping to the States.

        Really appreciate your reply!

    • Winter Whitehorn
      March 18, 2017 Reply

      How did you get your manufacturers to do specific white gift box packaging? Im not sure if I have to request that separately or will it come with my product, communication is so hard between them and I. My product is a shoe. Please email me James at [email protected]

      • David Bryant
        March 19, 2017 Reply

        This should be a simple question for them to answer. Unfortunately, if you're having difficulties with them answering this, you're probably going to have a lot more complex problems down the road.

      • James
        March 24, 2017 Reply

        I try to ask as many straightforward questions as possible when contacting suppliers. In addition to asking what type of packaging they include, I also ask if they can print my logo on the included packaging (if there is any). Sometimes they offer putting stickers on the packaging your qty is too low.

  • Stephen
    March 16, 2017 Reply

    Hi guys

    Thanks for all the great information you share.

    This may be a silly question

    If I send a very small shipment to the Amazon warehouse via air, do we need to schedule a delivery appointment with the warehouse?

    Or will they just accept it?

    Because when we sent a LTL via sea, we needed to schedule a delivery appointment

    Thanks for your help

    Stephen

    • David Bryant
      March 19, 2017 Reply

      Amazon will accept small parcel shipments without an appointment (well, to be exact, UPS/FedEx or whoever, will set the appointment with yours and hundreds of other packages) No need to worry about scheduling an appointment :)

  • Calvin
    April 7, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the detailed explanation on shipping! I have a question though, how does one receive an air freight shipment? Is there a temporary warehouse for me to pick up?

    I live in the lower mainland, what would be an ideal solution to receive a pallet (around 40x48x80) of 6 cartons (around 20kg each)?

    • David Bryant
      April 8, 2017 Reply

      Yes, it'll go to a warehouse, normally somewhere in Richmond (or rarely Delta).

  • Charlie
    April 26, 2017 Reply

    Hi!

    I was recently quoted by my supplier for Shipping to Amazon by Sea. However, upon inquiring with FBA Transport, I was quoted about half of what my supplier quoted me. I am completely new to this and I am not sure whether my supplier is overcharging me, or if FBA Transport are excluding some costs. I know that FBA Transport prides themselves with prices, but is it realistic that my supplier is trying to overcharge this much?

    • Charlie
      April 26, 2017 Reply

      Sorry, I meant FBA Tranzport which is a different company than FBA Transport.

    • David Bryant
      April 30, 2017 Reply

      Your Supplier may simply not get as good of a rate. It's also possible FBA Tranzport is not including all the fees in the quote you're getting. Either way, Suppliers tend to be pretty honest with their freight costs.

  • William
    April 27, 2017 Reply

    Hi David,
    Glad that I stumbled across your blog. Extremely helpful for those of us who are new to the field!

    I have a question, most probably due to me being new to this, about shipping directly from China to an FBA warehouse; I know that amazon limits 150 units to each box that enters their warehouse, and each box needs to be labeled on the outside with the carton label. How do I tell my agent to label the boxes so that it will enter amazon's warehouse in accordance to their guidelines? Will this label interfere with the air freight shipping label? I was planning on shipping my products by air express in probably one to two cardboard boxes- approximately 500 units total, to optimize my payload for a lower logistics cost. What are your suggestions? Thanks a million in advance for your time. Cheers!

    Will

    • David Bryant
      April 30, 2017 Reply

      Hi Will,

      It's too complex of a question for here, but briefly 1) no the FBA carton labels will not affect the air labels, as long as they don't overlap, 2) if you're shipping to FBA, you're likely going to 2-3 different warehouses meaning you need 2-3 different shipments (there's no possibility to optimize payload without using a 3PL in between in the U.S.. Just have your supplier put the FBA labels on the aopropriate boxes - typically agents won't want to put anything on the boxes.

  • Dustin
    May 3, 2017 Reply

    David, thank you for providing so much information and answering everyones questions. I've read through them all and wanted to get some clarification on purchasing shipping through Seller Central.

    We originally attempted to purchase through Seller Central, but we changed the Ship From address to the address in China. Upon doing this, we lost the option to use Small Parcel, and had to select Other Carrier. From here, we assumed we would need to contact a shipper (FedEx, UPS, DHL...) and purchase/arrange for shipping on our own. We've made some calls to the various shippers and they all have very expensive quotes.

    My question is in regards to an earlier comment here where you mention not needing to change the Ship From address. When I keep the address as my local US address, the option to use Small Parcel becomes available, and the shipping is a fraction of the quotes received from FedEx or UPS. I'm sure I'm missing something. It can't be as easy as just using my address and generating the labels (while getting the discounted shipping rates from Amazon). Is there a step I'm not seeing where we would need to indicate the shipment is coming from China in order to deal with Duties and such?

    Thanks again

    • David Bryant
      May 9, 2017 Reply

      Hi,

      There is no discounted partnered carrier shipping from china- unfortunately you're all on your own for arranging shipping from china (see some of the previous comments in this article for people with the same predicament)

  • SM Masfick Alam
    May 17, 2017 Reply

    Hi,

    I live in australia and i am shipping my first inventory to usa directly from my supplier. Di i need an EIN to ship my products to USA?

    Thanks.
    Masfick

    • David Bryant
      May 18, 2017 Reply

      Hi,

      You can be a non-resident importer - if you talk to a customs broker like pcb.ca they'll tell you everything you need to know.

  • Allison
    May 22, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I'm thinking about becoming an online seller with Amazon and wondered realistically how much capital you would need to start. I am in New Zealand and plan on finding a product and having it branded and sent from China. Starting small with an inexpensive items to begin with. Are we talking $1000's or $100's.
    Thanks in advance for the advice

    • David Bryant
      May 23, 2017 Reply

      Hi Allison,

      I realistically say $2500-5000 is a good starting budget for all expenses (which go beyond just product cost). Your capital needs will grow beyond that but it's a fair budget to start.

  • Dmitry
    June 7, 2017 Reply

    Hello, David!
    I think it's a very helpful article. I have just one question if you allow and you will find a time to answer. How can I organize a process to pay custom duties?

    Thank you for advance.

    • David Bryant
      June 7, 2017 Reply

      Hi Dmitry,

      If you're going via sea freight or air freight, you use a customs broker. If it's going via courier like UPS then they will give you a bill for the customs.

  • Sam
    June 14, 2017 Reply

    Hi,David!
    I'm confused.
    If one size of my product is over 25",it should be used to LTL.Not SPD?

    • David Bryant
      June 16, 2017 Reply

      Hi Sam,

      Can you clarify what you mean? Your item over 25" is going to ship on a pallet? And what is SPD?

  • Matthew Harvey
    June 23, 2017 Reply

    Hi David!

    Is it cheaper to send directly to yourself from the supplier and then do the labeling yourself then using a middle man?

    I have someone who quoted me $980 for 1,000 units of my product that will weigh about 170 lbs i TOTAL. They are promising me:Customs Brokerage
    Customs Clearance
    Insurance Premium
    Bond
    Trucking to FBA
    Free Concierge Service

    The only thing we don't include is duty, for which we'll send you the bill when clearing customs.

    Thank you for your assistance as I really would like to be successful with my first couple of imports.

    Best,

    Matthew

    • David Bryant
      June 27, 2017 Reply

      Hi Matthew,

      That quote sounds reasonable. You can probably save money doing it yourself just like you can save money cutting your own hair :)

  • Neka Sad
    August 25, 2017 Reply

    David, you're just amazing. I really appreciate you for all these useful information for us beginners. I have a question and I couldn't find the answer online. When I determine the targeted product that is selling good and want to compete with the actual seller on amazon, how can I get the similar quality of it from China, or even to find the same manufacturer?

    • Dave Bryant
      August 29, 2017 Reply

      You can use a tool like importgenius.com to find the suppliers. It works about half the time. However, you should be able to find similar Suppliers on Alibaba - you just have to search. That's the hard part and where you'll earn your keep :)

  • Alberto
    August 26, 2017 Reply

    David: Can you recomend some Middle Man to do the work of labeling from China to FBA?

    • Dave Bryant
      August 29, 2017 Reply

      I know a lot of people who use FBAInspection.com. Our course has a lot more recommendations :)

  • GRAHAM ROYCROFT
    September 17, 2017 Reply

    I am based in Australia. I have 2 products in China in separate factories that I want to bundle together and send to Amazon. Are there people in China who can accept the 2 items, package them together and label ("not to be separated" & "asphyxiation..." etc. etc) then freight to Amazon FBA for me, please? I am more than happy to pay for the advice. - I have searched high and low for this answer.

    • Dave Bryant
      September 23, 2017 Reply

      I'm sure there are some but I don't use any. I always just have the product I need bundled sent directly to one my factories and they bundle together.

  • Warren
    September 30, 2017 Reply

    Hello,
    I sell Stickers on Amazon FBA.
    I want my supplier to ship From Pakistan to USA FBA FULFILLMENT CENTER. These stickers are small in size usually 6" x 6"
    And I want to Ship 100 pieces in one carton. It's estimated value will be around $40 total. So, which is the best way for me to send inventory to FBA USA?
    If it needs custom clearance do you have any idea how much charges it would be?
    I live in USA.
    Thank you waiting for your reply.

    • Dave Bryant
      October 2, 2017 Reply

      Hi,
      I don't know the shipping options from Pakistan but I suspect one of the domestic carriers that ships internationally is your cheapest bet. After that maybe DHL. If it's under $800 there shouldn't be any customs to worry about.

  • Qadriullah
    October 2, 2017 Reply

    Hello,
    Do you have any idea of importing products to US.
    I want my supplier from UAE or Pakistan to ship my product directly to USA FBA Fulfillment Center.
    My product is stickers they are usually 6" x 6" in size.
    I want to ship 100 pieces of it. Total value of it would be around $50 and Shipping Box weight would be 1 Kg.
    It comes in document category. I talked to Amazon FBA they told me that

    Custom clearance will only be needed when the inventory is directly sended outside from USA to FBA, you may also use any address of your relatives in US, so your manufacturer will be able to ship your units.

    So, what do you say that I had to clear customs ? What will be their charges ? Their requirements?
    I don't want to do shipping my self.
    Thank you.

    • Dave Bryant
      October 2, 2017 Reply

      As long as the value is under $800 you should not have to worry about customs. Re: de minimis customs value.

  • sally
    October 11, 2017 Reply

    hi,

    I've selected inventory placement and want to know how will i know which FBA warehouse in the USA will we need to deliver to. can we select which one?

    • Dave Bryant
      October 11, 2017 Reply

      You have to create the shipment in FBA first and then they'll select it based on a number of factors.

    • Jamie
      November 2, 2017 Reply

      Hi Sally, having stepped through just this myself in recent weeks, if you are using a freight agent with a distribution or freight partner in the US, say in CA, you can add the "ship from" address as the agent's CA address. The benefit of this, sometimes, is that you may well be given an FBA address in CA to land your goods at rather than NY for example. There's some luck involved with this however.

      If you get a CA address as your FBA location, it's possible to save quite a bit on your shipping costs. ONT8 in CA is like a distribution location. Goods come in to ONT8 and then get sent out to other locations - if you have inventory placement enabled.

      • Dave Bryant
        November 6, 2017 Reply

        Awesome - advice. Thanks.

  • Tom
    October 12, 2017 Reply

    Hey Dave, thanks for all your answers.

    There something I'm a little confused about. If you order, say, 1000 units of a product but want to sell it in packs of 4, who does the splitting? Do you ask the supplier to box up 4 items in custom packaging? Or do people usually send the shipment to themselves and prep it all at their house/office and then send it off to amazon?

    Also, should the supplier be the one also creating the packaging and printing the design on the packaging (and also prepping)? Or would you have the supplier send the shipment to a packaging company and then the packaging company would create the packaging and prep the items for you in the package. OR (lol) would you have the china supplier send you the shipment to you and also have the packaging company send you the shipment of packaging and you prep and package everything yourself?

    Or is the answer all of the above?

    Thanks again

    • Dave Bryant
      October 16, 2017 Reply

      Yes, your Supplier would normally split it, although you can personally do it as well. In terms of the packaging, normally your Supplier would buy it but you can source it yourself from a packaging company and then send it to your supplier to package. Your supplier is almost always the one in charge of physically packaging the goods.

  • Shean
    October 19, 2017 Reply

    Hey Dave,
    As far as our research shows, for air and sea cargo, you definitely need an EIN unless you use a custom broker like PCB.ca
    You replied above that no EIN is required if use 'air courier express' through a customs broker like PCB.ca
    What if I organized the 'air courier express' myself with UPS without going through customs broker like PCB.ca, do i need EIN? This is for goods value above $2,500
    Thanks in advance

    • Dave Bryant
      October 22, 2017 Reply

      You do not need an EIN - you can get a non-resident importer ID. A customs broker is the easiest way to get this but you can do it on your own.

  • Zoltan
    October 31, 2017 Reply

    Hi Dave,
    Hoping you can assist with my query. I have gone to the effort of making a private label, barcodes and everything required for vitamin supplements I want to sell on Amazon but having an awful time with Amazons FDA Certificate and GMP Certificate requests. I have legitimate Certificates from the factories but they don't appear good enough for Amazon. Reading a lot of blogs I fear Amazon just doesn't want to accept any more Vitamin and herb supplement sellers on Amazon. Do you think this is so or am I doing something wrong? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated as I am thinking I might have wasted a lot of money on this. I am in Australia so I cannot sell my products here as we have tougher regulations but I had thought that it was easier there.
    Kind regards

    Zoltan

    • Dave Bryant
      November 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi,
      The regulations are, unfortunately, more lax in the u.s. however, Amazon has been cracking down on vitamins and supplement suppliers recently. One of mine and Mike's advice we give new importers and sellers is to not touch vitamins and supplements. Wish I could give better advice but hopefully it works out for you.

  • Jamie
    November 2, 2017 Reply

    My own experience as a first time FBA importer:

    1. Get the 3rd party inspection - in China. No exceptions. I adverted a disaster by doing this. Don't listen to the suppliers promises of "all will be fine" Just do it. You'll sleep better too.
    2. You don't need a middle man / prepper reducing you profits if you work with a trusted freight forwarder with specific Amazon experience. i.e they know the drill...leave them to it. Easier said than done I agree :-) Agree, you need to keep a close eye on how your goods are being packed on the supplier side. Get photos as mentioned.
    3. Remove as much of the logistic / duty complexity by asking for DDP terms from your forwarder. It may seem a bit more expensive but I think it's worth it. There's good reason to pay the experts to reduce your burden with this.

    • Dave Bryant
      November 6, 2017 Reply

      More great advice.

  • Importer
    November 9, 2017 Reply

    Hey Dave,

    So I have been quoted thousand pieces, three-hundred & fifty of them in each box (Amazon does 150 max), 3 total boxes I assume. Fifteen kilos each box, for approximately $ eight-hundred & fifty, reasonable? No Incoterm details given, simply "express door to door within a week" Is this Air Freight? So in this case... where do I send shipment, what address do I give my supplier? If to my residence, I'd face custom problems, right?... If I choose a Freight Forwarder, can they eliminate all the FOB mess and reduce service costs to only customs and paperwork, and shipment to my residence? How about UPS/FedEx/DHL, they offer customs and everything? If I choose one of the big 3, do I submit a "receive shipment plan" online and use big 3's receiving address to my supplier? Thanks.

    • Dave Bryant
      November 15, 2017 Reply

      This is most likely UPS or some other air courier. If it's air courier there's no real incoterms needed. If its under $800 and to FBA there's no duties to worry about (de minimis is in effect). You give the address of wherever you want the shipment going, be it yourself or FBA. There's other implications if this goes to your residence or anywhere else.

      • Dave Bryant
        November 15, 2017 Reply

        Also, the quote is a little high. It's possible to get closer to $500 if your supplier or you shops around. He's probably not ripping you off, he just doesn't get a great rate.

        • Importer
          December 29, 2017 Reply

          Thanks. Supplier also mentioned that "inspection is included" so no need for me to hire inspection service provided through Alibaba... is this recommended? Seems to me that they are trying to avoid inspections services paid by me?
          Also have you ever heard of possible pallet shipments to drop at my residence? So that I could prep it privately, and ship the boxes individually bit by bit? I know boxes below $800 can be done but what are the implications of customs-related pallets being dropped on my front lawn? Thanks Dave.

          • Dave Bryant
            December 29, 2017

            That response from your Supplier is a big red flag. Would you buy a car through Craigslist without inspecting it because the seller said "no need for you to see it, I inspected it already?".
            Yes, a trucker can drop off to your house but you have to let them know it's a residential drop off and you're to pay more for it. Make sure you specify you need a lift gate and a pallet jack (unless you have one).

  • Junaid
    December 10, 2017 Reply

    Hi Dave,
    I really want to start business, buy from china and sell it on Amazon, but I really don't know how to start. Can you please guide me step by step. Is there any course from you which guide me, how to start step by step? Please if you can help me out, I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks,

    • Dave Bryant
      December 12, 2017 Reply

      Hi,

      We have a course but it is closed now. Check again in about a month: https://www.ecomcrew.com/course

  • Alvaro Fuentes
    January 9, 2018 Reply

    Hi Dave,
    How much more difficult (or less) is shipping complete containers from a China factory to an Amazon location in Europe?
    At work, I manage the domestic sales to Amazon, but it looks like we are about to start doing business with Amazon through the EU Direct Import program. All I know is that we will ship to one location from a Chinese factory, but I still have no knowledge of all the paperwork, labeling, etc. involved.

    Thank you,
    Al.

    • Dave Bryant
      January 9, 2018 Reply

      I have no direct experience but the labeling should be nearly identical. The paperwork should be similar to a normal import into the EU. I'll be doing an article next month on shipping full full containers direct to Amazon.

  • Sunit
    February 26, 2018 Reply

    Hi, I apologize if this has already been addressed. I am starting a new side business where I want to sell a product on Amazon using FBA. The goods will be sourced from China and the total cost (including freight to US port) will be around $3.5k. The items will be shipped by sea and roughly 13 boxes (each box will weigh roughly 33lbs).

    1) If I have the items shipped directly to Amazon, I assume I will save on shipping cost? (The add'l shipping costs that I'll pay if I have the items sent to my local address first then ship to Amazon warehouse).
    2)Since this is my first time, recommend that I have it shipped to my local address where I can inspect quality, etc.? (This is my first experience ordering anything from China).
    3)Any recommendations on how I should approach this?

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    • Dave Bryant
      March 4, 2018 Reply

      Hi,

      1) Yes it's cheaper to send direct to amazon but riskier.

      2) Yes I'd recommend this.

      3. Too broad.

  • Melinda
    March 11, 2018 Reply

    Do you have an article about purchasing products that are <$800 and arriving at my house instead of amazon warehouse? What is the best method for shipping this type of order and what middle man services do I need? Thank you

    • Dave Bryant
      March 12, 2018 Reply

      If it's going to your house, then you are the middle the man, you don't need another. Any air courier service like UPS/FedEx/etc. is normally the cheapest in these cases.

  • Sam
    May 29, 2018 Reply

    Great informative article! I'm getting ready to order my 2nd batch of product from my supplier, only this time, leaning towards getting it shipped directly from China to Amazon FBA. Shipment value is around $1500. The part I'm getting confused on is the "Shipping From" address when you create the FBA box label. What do I tell my supplier now as it won't be shipping from my home address?

    From what I've gathered, general consensus seem to be to use the address of your domestic freight forwarder's warehouse. If that's the case, do I get in contact with a forwarder like UPS/Fedex, have them get in touch with my supplier on where the shipment need to be shipped to, forwarder then gets inventory from china, I pay customs, THEN provide forwarder the FBA box label to apply?

    Much Thanks,

    Sam

    • Dave Bryant
      June 4, 2018 Reply

      The ship from address doesn't really impact anything unless you're using partnered carriers (which you won't be). I've used both my address in Canada, my suppliers address, and everything in between.

  • HERB
    August 6, 2018 Reply

    Hello Dave,
    I'm currently working on our very first order coming in from china , valued around $3100, ...the question I have involves the ASINS, and labeling for my product , if I used one the middlemen in your PDF (download).. would they help me in getting these labeled and shipped out to amazon FBA?..

    • Dave Bryant
      August 6, 2018 Reply

      Most 3PLs will be able to help with this but you'll want to confirm with them directly.

  • Abhishek Singh
    August 8, 2018 Reply

    Hello,
    Glad that I came to this blog.
    I am new to FBA business. I have a very basic question that how can I take photographs of my product to launch in amazon's listing as I am going to send the product from China to US. I live in Australia.
    And if possible can you guide me shortly what are the steps for the bar code? Does the supplier fixes the codes in the product or do I need to send my product to other industry where they do this work? Apology if its very basic.

    • Dave Bryant
      August 10, 2018 Reply

      Hi,
      If you need pictures you'll have to either have one product sent to you in Australia to take pictures or have a 3rd party take them in China or America. For bar coding, see here: https://www.ecomcrew.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-barcoding-your-products/

  • susan
    January 8, 2019 Reply

    Hi,
    I am in the middle of getting prices for my first Amazon product. It is small and the total shipment would be 300 lbs. I called DHL to get an estimate and they quoted me 8000.00 for air. I won't even come close to making that much money if I sell every one of my pieces. How do I learn how to get quotes for first shipment. I know people are not paying that much money for a small quantity of products from China. There's no way! Can anyone please shed some light? :)

    • Dave Bryant
      January 8, 2019 Reply

      Normally it's anywhere from $8-20 for air courier. You're in an awkward size category and there's no cheap way to do it. Try freightos.com for an air quote. UPS/DHL/etc. won't give you good rates unless you have an account with them.

  • Scott S.
    January 17, 2019 Reply

    Fantastic blog post. Thanks for all the great info!

    • Dave Bryant
      January 19, 2019 Reply

      You're welcome Scott!

  • Tony
    January 22, 2019 Reply

    Hi Dave, great article, thanks!
    I'm based in Australia and intending to sell on Amazon US, so unfortunately shipping to myself first is not an option. My plan is to pay the supplier on an EXW basis, use an inspection service in China to inspect the shipment before it leaves the factory, and then use a freight forwarder to ship from China to the US, prep/label and send into the Amazon FC.
    My question is: are freight forwarders the same as 3PL? The freight forwarders I've looked at so far seem to offer fairly comprehensive services including customs brokerage, warehousing and labelling. Isn't that all I need?

    • Dave Bryant
      February 1, 2019 Reply

      Yes, many freight forwarders are offering 3PL services now.

  • Tony
    January 22, 2019 Reply

    Hey Dave, any recommendations for great 3PL companies for FBA? Thanks!

    • Dave Bryant
      February 1, 2019 Reply

      Hi Tony, Search our site for 3PL - we have a mega guide.

  • Mengnan
    February 7, 2019 Reply

    I'm 1st time importer so I used Fedex Air Courier from shipping from Fuzhou to Long Beach. I also did comparative analysis based on the info I gathered and found out there's not much difference between different shipping methods shipping my procuts. I saved 20 days by using Air courier but I had to add $2/unit to the retail price. My prep company FBA Inspection only delayed 3 days I remember. Not that bad I think. Most freight forwarders I contacted only accept EXW if you want them to handle the process from US port to final destination. My guess is shipping from Chinese factories to Chinese ports is quoted cheaper on the Chinese side than the US side so I just gave up saving a little bit money and used Air Courier (DAP). What you think?

    • Dave Bryant
      February 8, 2019 Reply

      If the shipments are relatively small then often there's not a significant disadvantage shipping air. When you starting talking larger shipments, i.e. 1000 kgs plus, the differences become significant.

  • Javier Najarro
    February 26, 2019 Reply

    Great article Dave -- very useful, organized and professional information.

    I'm a first time buyer and importer in FBA. My product is small and lightweight
    - total order weight of ~148kgs. According to my research and a few calculations, air courier / express is my best option. However, I seem to be stuck on preparing a shipping plan in Amazon's Seller Central. As I understand it, the "ship from" address is supposed to be the Freight Forwarder's address or my business / home address. However, since I would be shipping from factory straight to AMZ FC, I would think the correct address would be the Chinese factory's address but that allegedly affects which and how many AMZ FC the load gets assigned to.

    Considering the product load is going from factory directly to AMZ FC (without using AMZ shipping partner's services inside de US), does the ship from address really matter? Which address would you recommend for the "ship from" field?

    To make things even more confusing, my supplier needs the AMZ FC address to for a DDP / air courier quote so I'm basically stuck in this step.

    Any advice would be a great help and deeply appreciated.

    • Dave Bryant
      February 28, 2019 Reply

      The ship from address only matters if you're using partnered carriers. Other wise you can put whatever you want there.

    • Tim
      May 28, 2019 Reply

      Javier,

      What did you end up using as a ship from address and did it work out? Was your supplier able to get that address for you prior to shipment?

  • Stefan
    May 21, 2019 Reply

    Hello, everyone. I am about to ship my first order to Amazon FBA and I have a question.
    1. "Ship from" name? What name I have to write?

    • Dave Bryant
      May 24, 2019 Reply

      The name doesn't really matter. Use your company or personal name.

  • Tim
    May 28, 2019 Reply

    Hi Dave,
    I just put an order in that is going to be delivered via sea from Shenzen Port to Amazon FBA. I have paid supplier for shipping to include forwarding all the way to Amazon FBA distribution center (VIA UPS). In your article you say to list an address in Southern California so shipping time is shorter. I would like the product to go to a center in California but am afraid to do this because if there is an issue would they sent my products back to that address (that im not really associated with)? My other option is using my regular address which puts me up in Chicago which Im not sure what port would be used. Have you had any issues with using the address you provided in your article?

    Thanks for your help and time.

    • Dave Bryant
      June 10, 2019 Reply

      If they're going via air and ups there won't be much of a difference in shipping rates no matter the FC. It matters most for sea shipments.

  • Dominic Goldsmith
    June 26, 2019 Reply

    Hi Dave, nice article! Regarding inspection companies, I've used these services so many times since I started importing from China including Qima, but I'd like to recommend V-Trust which has consistently helped boost the overall quality of my products through the specialized consultancies they normally give after inspections, instead of just reporting like the other regular inspection companies do. Have you tried their services?

    • Dave Bryant
      July 24, 2019 Reply

      Haven't tried them but thanks for the mention!

    • Yifei
      August 28, 2019 Reply

      Thanks for Dave Bryant's sharing. I am freight forwarder from CHINA, We are focus on FBA freight service in 8 years, we comprehend the details of Amazon FBA ,such as how to packing,labeling for FBA products, and we are willing to share our professional experiences with our customers, we do logistics including LTL/FTL sea freight,air freight, DHL,UPS,FEDEX, from CHINA to ALL Amazon FC center,such like US,UK,Japan,Canada,etc......,also offering full-time english service for our customer. If you have any questions, please contact me: [email protected]

  • Brad
    August 22, 2019 Reply

    Great article, Dave!

    Amazon started routing all my shipments to North Carolina center earlier this year and nothing I can change (address, package size, inventory placement) can get it to change to the West Coast (for cheaper and faster shipping). Any suggestions of how to get a West Coast routed shipment?

    • Dave Bryant
      September 3, 2019 Reply

      If changing the ship from address isn't changing it, unfortunately there's not a ton you can do :(-(

  • viral desai
    October 25, 2019 Reply

    what information should i provide to chinese suplier that my items directly to go to my my seller account.

    • Dave Bryant
      October 30, 2019 Reply

      Too broad of question.

  • sree
    November 1, 2019 Reply

    hi
    please advise for garments packing to Amazon FBA need to be palletized

    secondly
    can you advise the Bangladesh forwarders handling sea shipment to Amazon FBA

    • Dave Bryant
      November 13, 2019 Reply

      Depends on the volume of the shipment.

  • ellen
    November 22, 2019 Reply

    Hello,
    I just realized my supplier is located very from from the city, and is near Wuyi Mountain. She advises me not to do a 3rd parties inspection because its costly. Its my first time doing amazon fab and will b my first order which is under 200 unit. Do you know of any 3pl in that area and what do you think I should do?

    • Dave Bryant
      November 24, 2019 Reply

      QIMA or any inspection agency will go anywhere for about $300. It makes me nervous they're saying so explicitly to avoid doing an inspection.

  • JW Lewis
    December 1, 2019 Reply

    Wow!
    I have to say the information here is very great! I read every single comment too. I give you a ton of respect for all the answers you've given to a lot of the questions. I definitely book marked this! Thank you!

  • Ray
    December 12, 2019 Reply

    Hi,
    I apologize if I missed the answer to this question in the above comments.
    I'm in China and want to sell my Children's book in the US. ($12.99). I can have the shipments sent directly to my Beijing office before heading to Amazon.
    What are your suggestions in terms of sending the package? i.e. Can I just ring DHL/FedEx and send 60 units at a time - below the $800 threshold amount - directly to Amazon? (or is it more complicated than that?) Thanks.

    • Dave Bryant
      December 30, 2019 Reply

      Yes, more or less.

  • Marc Louie
    February 12, 2020 Reply

    Hi. I need to ship directly to FBA from Taiwan, China. Upon checking cost, it seems DHL Air Connect will be the lesser cost I can get. However, incoterms options is DAP and EXW. Which is my problem since I want the courier to bill me all the cost (custom duties and other local charges) since Amazon will not pay for it. Can you advise me how to do it and what would the best solution for this?

    • Dave Bryant
      February 14, 2020 Reply

      I'm not sure - you'd have to ask DHL.

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